Opinion

EFR a real bonus to Valley

The fire along I-90 that came so close to destroying homes in Cedar Village should remind us of several things. We live in what fire officials call the interface, where trees and homes are mixed together. The serenity and the beauty that comes with being in the trees is a mixed blessing, as there is also the threat of a raging fire that can change the setting and our lives in just a few minutes.

Fire officials have been telling us for years that these types of incidents are happening more frequently and get to be large fires sooner and sooner. Officials have informed us of the things we need to do to prepare so that we can be a part of the solution. Having defensible spaces around our homes and knowing how to protect our belongings are a couple factors that limited the damage of this fire.

As frightening as the fire was, it could have been so much worse. Fortunately for us, we are part of Eastside Fire and Rescue (EFR)'s consortium of fire districts and cities that joined forces in 1999 to provide services to North Bend, Issaquah, Carnation, Sammamish and the surrounding unincorporated areas. It was resources from all of those EFR areas that quickly converged (the first unit was there in 6 minutes) on the scene, keeping the fire from burning homes.

More than 100 career and volunteer firefighters from EFR responded, providing 14 units at the scene, while another 10 units took other area calls or were held in reserve to respond to Cedar Village if they were needed. The ability of EFR and the depth of resources displayed on that day, as was the case in Carnation last year, should remind us of how important it is to continue to support our fire department.

I appreciate the forward thinking of the fire commissioners and City Council members who several years ago had the vision to create this strong EFR consolidation, and all the hard work it has taken so we can have the services that we receive.

Sharon Piper

North Bend

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